U.S. groups back congressional letter opposing Palestinian prisoner release


WASHINGTON (JTA) — Two pro-Israel groups are backing a proposed congressional letter that asks U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to intervene in Israel’s planned release of Palestinian prisoners, some who killed or injured Americans.

“The Department of Justice should immediately intercede in this most recent prisoner release proposal and contact the government of Israel and request that they not release any terrorists who have killed or harmed Americans,” said the letter initiated by Rep. Matt Salmon (R-Ariz.).

Salmon is circulating the letter among his colleagues in the U.S. House of Representatives seeking signatures. It also asks Holder to seek the extradition of any terrorist involved in the harming of U.S. citizens.

The Endowment for Middle East Truth, or EMET, and the National Council of Young Israel backed the letter in a joint statement released Monday.

“The release of terrorists who have murdered Israeli or American citizens simply inspires more terror,” Sarah Stern, the founder of EMET, said in the statement. “Would we agree to the release of Dzhokar Tsarnaev, the Boston Marathon bomber? Of course not.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government is ready to release 104 prisoners whose crimes predate the Oslo peace process launched in 1993, coincident with progress in the newly resumed peace talks with the Palestinians.

In a separate statement issued Monday, the Zionist Organization of America also expressed its opposition to the planned release.

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